The prosecution is part of a new scheme aiming to tackle anti-social behaviour by introducing licences that require landlords to up their game.
The property owners in Gainsborough were hit with the heavy sanction after being prosecuted as part of a West Lindsey District Council selective licensing scheme.
The new regime came into effect in July 2016 as part of a drive to improve property standards in the town and landlords are now required to license each rental property following growing concerns of anti-social behaviour.
Last Tuesday, October 10, the four landlords became the first to receive the tough penalties when the case was heard at Lincoln Magistrate’s Court.
Selective licensing schemes aim to improve standards of property management in the private rented sector.
If a landlord rents a property in a selective licensing area, they will normally need to get a licence from the council.
The licence will require landlords to manage their properties in accordance with conditions that the council specifies and failure to do so could lead to enforcement action - which is what has happened here.
The biggest fine of £108,000 was given to landlord, Jagdish Singh, 59, of Southernhay Road, Leicester.
He pleaded guilty to ‘failure to license’ eight of his properties, receiving a fine of £13,500 per offence. It is believed to be the largest fine issued to one landlord to date in the country for renting out properties without a selective licence.
Singh also pleaded guilty to three offences relating to the failure to comply with improvement notices. He was fined a further £4,500 for each offence and ordered to pay costs of £2,000.
The other three defendants who also live on Southernhay Road, Leicester, jointly own several of the unlicensed properties with Singh.
Gurjit Singh and Balbir Kaur had previously been found guilty for two ‘failure to license’ offences each. They were both fined £15,000 for two offences each and ordered to each pay costs of £1048.56, plus £170 surcharge.
Harpal Bindra Singh previously had three ‘failure to license’ offences heard and determined in his absence and was fined £15,000 per offence. He was also found guilty for one failure to comply with an improvement notice and given the maximum £5,000 fine and ordered to pay costs of £1048.56, plus £170 surcharge.
West Lindsey District Council was also successful in applying for Criminal Behaviour Orders on all the defendants which means there are now conditions in place on any properties owned by those found guilty within the district for a period of ten years.
Councilor Sheila Bibb, chairman of the Prosperous Communities Committee at the council, said: “The courts have made it very clear in these prosecutions – that landlords will face tough fines and restrictions if they do not comply with the scheme.“